May 26th, 2003


At Baycon...

on one of the many donated iMacs for the event.

Party down the hall with massive amounts of apple cider. Taking a cider break, however... in part so that I can post about today, and in part to avoid the potential negative effects of sweet alcohol. Sure glad that I didn't finish the whole glass of that beer made with red jalipenos. Wouldn't make a good mixer... 8-x

Today was a bit of good, indeed. Went to the LJ gathering here, where I met a few people, such as lunaticsx. I have seen lunaticsx around for over a decade, but never really talked to him... only to find out that he was lunatic on Trex, a BBS I used to frequent back in the daze.

We talked a bit about the gatherings that Trex had back then -- PpPp's, as they were called. Pizza nights, basically, which regularly attracted over 30 people. There were also the very large picnics, which attracted up to 100 people. We generally agreed that despite the web and the huge audience for it, things were *FAR* better back then from a community standpoint.

We also talked about LJ features. There are a slew of feature ideas regarding building local communities that have never been implemented... and I hate to say it, but they never will be. It just ain't happenin', folks, because bandwidth costs money and features require programming and hardware to run it all... consider yourself lucky nowadays if they don't restrict the features you do have access to in the name of saved bandwidth...

... and the thing is, I can't really blame LJ for this. It's much harder to really make the site work well, in large part due to the fact that the site is centralized. If we want better software, we have to design it so it makes sense... and centralized apps don't make a lot of sense, even if they're the easiest to create usually. There's a lot about LJ that doesn't make sense... umpteen improvements and new features that could be designed... but to be honest, there's not a ton you can do about it until centralization is no longer a huge issue.

I am convinced that there should be a project to create a peer-to-peer weblog application, using XML to interconnect everything. (If this doesn't make sense to you, I'm sorry... "Geek, geek!" iceblink might say in chirpy verbiage...)

Think about it... your client for posting to LJ would be the application itself. Your journal wouldn 't have to be stored on a centralized server -- your journal would be on your own computer... and maybe mirrored onto your website space... and possibly mirrored on some of your friend's computers. You could create posts that contained images or even wavs or mp3s, and the whole shebang would be mirrored wherever you want it, so that if you were offline, others would get access to it from your other sources.

Of course, this would be file sharing, but you know... that's what p2p is all about. Fuck the RIAA... because the intent of the application would certainly be seen as not specifically geared towards pirating music. -- even though that is one of the things it could be used for. If you think that Gnutella can get away with file sharing legally according to judges, imagine what a p2p weblog app could do where the idea of file sharing mp3s is really a distant potential issue. It would be like trying to prosecute someone because their clothes dryer could be used to bash someone's head in. (Heh. Anyone want to help build it??! )

After the LJ gathering, I went to a really cool panel on advances regarding R&D relating to electrical currents at the smallest frickin' level and ran into Cory Doctorow again. He lives a life that is wired to the utmost -- I wouldn't want to be that tethered to the 'net. Chatted with him later about several issues relating to the EFF, copyright, software ideas, and just generally shot the sh*t for about 40 minutes. He took a ~300 page advanced manuscript of his new novel out of his bag, showed me excitedly the great blurb that William Gibson gave his book for the sleeve, and said "Would you like to keep this?!"

Damn straight! I had him sign it too... Cory is really a cool and pretty damn brilliant guy, and I have little doubt that he will be a successful writer. If he does, that manuscript might be worth something someday... not that I intend to sell it during my lifetime, but who knows... it might cover the cost of my funeral party someday. Meanwhile, I have yet another book to read, but this one definitely gets moved to the head of the queue.

I feel very happy with my life in some ways. I know the kind of people I want to know, and so many of them are so special in so many different ways... smart people, kind people, creative people, humble people, people wise in the ways of living. I am glad I don't surround myself with just geeks, but still... gotta love them geeks. All really interesting things happen on the edges... and that applies to technology too.

Peoples are good stuff, Maynard. (Well, mostly...)

Good thing the war is over...

Though it is little comfort for the family of these US soldiers, I'm sure.

So, they mention at least 4 seperate attacks on US troops on Monday alone, with one dead and four wounded. Hm. If things heat up a bit more, it's going to be every bit as bad as the war itself... and of course the natural tendency is for the US troops to hunker down more and expose themselves to less danger... which means that they will be less effective in actually doing anything that might be considered controlling the country. This, incidentally, is exactly what has happened in Afghanistan.

Sounds to me like the Shi'ites have a better chance of running things longterm, because even though the US might have the military strength, what good is that if they don't/can't control the streets?

Hm. This could get a lot uglier.